After fishing we headed over to Lucy Island which is about 16 km away from Prince Rupert. This island is home to an unmanned lighthouse and Rhinoceros Auklets, not to mention some excellent beaches!
When the tide is low more sandy beach is exposed and you can walk over to a couple different islands. There are tons of white broken shells washed up and gathered in rocky crevices.
My favourite sight was absolutely these noisy Oyster Catchers!
There’s a boardwalk running from one end of this small island to the other. It passes beautiful tall trees, shell midden excavations, pathways down to more beach, Auklet hiddy holes, lichen covered brush and a lighthouse at the end of it all.
While on the boardwalk we bumped into an archaeologist who gave us a bit of insight into the history on this island.
Shell midden is essentially an old garbage heap left by first nations people around pit houses. The houses eventually rot and fall apart but the midden endures. If you look closely at the shape of exposed midden, you can see the outline of where the house used to be. A botanical indicator of previous inhabitants is False Lily of the Valley. It covers spots where shell midden and pit houses are often found.
The midden in the terrible picture below (sorry!) was excavated in the fifties and there are a few more nearby locations presently being looked at.
What’s interesting is where these middens are found. They aren’t right down at the beach but they once were thanks to higher sea levels. The higher the shell midden are found, the older they are. The oldest found here is approximately eight to ten thousand years old!
Sadly we didn’t see any Rhinoceros Auklets today. All the more reason to come back for a weekend trip. These diving birds fish all day and come home to their burrows at night. We did get to see piles of downy feathers here and there.
When we got to the end of the trail we stood where the lighthouse keeper’s house would have been. It was neat to see the old gardens trying to survive the wild with tulips, daffodils and other non native varieties scattered here and there. Mint had overtaken a large area and gave us something to nibble on as we climbed down and up a ravine to the lighthouse where there was once a walkway bridge.
We didn’t stay too long at the windy lighthouse but promised each other we’d come back soon.
We came home with handfuls of shells and rocks but Lily’s shell ring was the best!